Russia displayed another solid performance despite some strong opposition from the Cuban side
Wroclaw, Poland, September 11, 2014 - Olympic champions Russia defeated Cuba in four sets (25-18, 23-25, 25-15, 25-19) staying close to the top of Pool F with a 5-0 win-loss record and 14 points, one point less than the leading Brazil. The Russians held a 50-30 advantage in attacks and established a 9-1 big gap in aces while both teams had nine blocks.
• Russia have won seven matches in this edition and ten in a row at the world championship
• The seven victories equal the total of Russia in the 2010 edition
• All six previous meetings of Cuba with Russia were against the former Soviet Union
Dmitriy Ilinykh led Russia with 17 points while Nikolay Pavlov and Dmitriy Muserskiy each contributed 16 points in the win. Osmany Uriarte and Javier Jimenez were the main offensive players for the Cubans with 16 and 12 points, respectively. Cuba are now 0-5 with two points.
The Cubans obviously surprised Russia at the beginning of the match, as thanks to Rolando Cepeda Abreu and Osmany Santiago Uriarte Mestre’s kills they managed to take 8-6 lead. However, the Olympic champions quickly changed the result to 14-9 with a few confident moves. Dmitriy Muserskiy was gaining points by a single block, Nikolay Apalikov spiked effectively and Nikolay Pavlov produced some aces. With a higher and higher loss to the Europeans, head coach Rodolfo Sanchez used all the time-outs for his team before the second technical break. That did not help a lot the Caribbeans as they had problems with receiving powerful Russian serves and spikes. With the result 16-10, Cuba’s team were making more and more simple errors, so that Russia could easily control the game. Following Muserskiy’s kill, the Russians won the first set 25-18.
Again, Cuba started the set a bit better than the world No. 2 ranked side. With a great devotion and perfect concentration, they led 4-2. Fantastic triple block was shown by Leandro Macias Infante, Isbel Mesa Sandoval and Uriarte Mestre. That did not put Russian vigilance to sleep as with Dmitriy Ilinykh and Alexey Spiridonov’s kills they were leading 8-7. Unexpectedly, the Cubans caught up the result and managed to take a three point lead. Promising Javier Ernesto Jimenez Scull’s spikes caused lots of Russian problems. Head coach Andrey Voronkov was forced to ask for two time-outs for his team, although they still could not stop Cuban moves. The Europeans put a lot of effort to change the result but the Caribbeans, supported by Polish fans, had their own way. With Uriarte Mestre’s kill, Cuba gained a victory 25-23.
The Russians were clearly motivated to quickly win the next set. With spectacular kills by the likes of Muserskiy they gained 8-4 lead. Best Cuban scorer, Uriarte Mestre, was scoring vital points for his team as his spikes were very precise. However, concentrated and irritated Russia’s side were hard to stop. They extended their leading to five points before the second technical time-out. Sanchez’s team were making lots of errors in spikes as they were off target. Meanwhile, Artem Volvich and his team were producing very effective kills. The set end up with the result 25-15 for Russia as Felix Emilio Chapman Pineiro made a service mistake.
Last set, Russia’s team started calmly but highly focused. They did not jump out to lead but they controlled the game throughout the whole time. Volvich’s single block and Pavlov’s promising kill gave them 8-6 lead. The world No. 7 ranked side could not find a way to finish their moves as the Russians were perfectly blocking and effectively receiving the balls. With superb Ilinykh’s kills, the Cubans were helpless. Following the second technical time-out, the Europeans were systematically extending their lead. With Pavel Moroz’s ace, the Russians gained a victory 25-19 in the last set.